The Metropolitan Division will square off with the Central Division as the New Jersey Devils invade the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to brawl with the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams will be playing on no rest in this game as the Devils have a home game on Saturday against Florida, while the Blackhawks will be playing a road game against Carolina on Saturday. Goalie Probables: The Devils will be sending out Keith Kinkaid and he will be opposed by Corey Crawford.
Devils Are Looking To Get Back On Track
The New Jersey Devils have a game against the Panthers at home on Saturday night and they will be looking to break a four-game losing streak in that game. That is on the heels of them starting the year at 9-2. They are an improved team this year and are now looking to get back on track as they try and make a run at a playoff spot, which was eluded them the last five years. They must get their offense going again as they have averaged just 2.40 gpg over their last five games after putting up, 3.80 gpg over their first 10 games. They just don’t have the goaltending to overcome bad offense. The Devils have gone 5-2 on the road so far. With Cory Schneider getting the nod against the Panthers on Saturday night, It will be Keith Kinkaid that gets the nod in this one and he has gone 3-2 with a 2.88 GAA and a .903 save percentage on the year, including 2-1 with a 2.46 GAA and a .919 save percentage on the road. In his career, he has gone 13-15 with a 2.54 GAA at home and 3-5 with a 2.75 GAA during the month of November, while against the Central Division he has gone 2-7 with a 2.94 GAA, including 0-2 with a 2.38 GAA against the Blackhawks.
New Jersey enters this contest ranked 8th in the league in scoring at 3.33 gpg, while also ranking 27th in shots taken (29.8 spg) and 8th in power play conversions, converting on 21.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been a bit below average in the early going as they come in ranked 22nd in goals allowed, giving up 3.13 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots allowed (35.1 spg) and 14th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 18.8% of their chances.
Chicago Needs To Get Their Offense Going
The Blackhawks had a nice 2-0 start to their year and they scored 15 goals in those two games, but they have since gone just 5-9 and have averaged just 1.92 gpg in those games. They come in having scored just six goals in their last four games and that just will not get it done in the NHL this year as scoring is way up thanks to the new rules. If they don’t get their offense going again, then it could be a rough year for a team that led the Western Conference in points last year. Leading Chicago in scoring has been Brandon Saad, who has six, while Patrick Kane, Richard Panik and Artem Anisimov each have five. The Blackhawks have gone 4-4 at home so far this year. Corey Crawford will be getting the start in this one as Anton Forsberg is getting the start on Saturday night. Crawford has gone 7-6 with a 1.87 GAA and a .942 save percentage on the year overall, including 4-3 with a 1.44 GAA and a .957 save percentage here at home. In his career, he has gone 117-80 with a 2.26 GAA in his home games and 46-24 with a 2.42 GAA during the month of November, while against the Metro Division he has gone 25-22 with a 2.46 GAA and he is 3-3 with a 2.40 GAA in his career against the Devils.
Chicago has been below average on offense this year as they come in ranked 21st in the league in scoring at 2.75 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots taken (33.8 spg) and 28th in power play conversions, converting on 12.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been very good so far as they are ranked 4th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.44 gpg, while also ranking 26th in shots allowed (33.7 spg) and 5th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 14.5% of their chances.
New Jersey is:
- The Under is 4-1-3 in their last eight in the fourth game of a 4-in-6 days situation
- The Under is 12-4-8 in their last 24 in the third game of a 3-in-4 days situation
- The Under is 5-0 in their last five home games
- The Under is 33-12-12 in their last 57 vs. the Metropolitan
The Blackhawks have really struggled in their last 14 games, while the Devils have lost their last four in a row, prior to Saturday night. The Devils have been struggling on offense as they have averaged just 2.40 gpg in their last five games and they don’t figure to score much here against Corey Crawford, who has a 1.44 GAA at home for the year. The Chicago offense has really struggled of late as they have averaged just 1.92 gpg over their last 14 games and I just don’t see that offense breaking out here. Chicago home games have averaged just 4.75 gpg and I will look for less than five goals in this one as well.